Arch – the Multi-Tenant Data Platform as a Service for Consultants

Many data consultancies dream of moving beyond the traditional billable hours model and into the realm of productized services. Productized services represent the sweet spot between fully customized solutions and generic Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, providing a tailored experience while leveraging reusable components and shared infrastructure to ensure scalability and efficiency.

For consultants, the productized services model promises a way out of linear growth, where you scale by hiring more people and working more hours, and into a business model with predictable monthly revenue and growth that’s decoupled from billable hours and instead focused on the value you provide to the client. However, the transition to a productized service is challenging.

The biggest challenge is justifying the initial investment in building application infrastructure and business processes that can be scaled to any number of clients. It’s a shift that demands a sacrifice of immediate revenue from current clients. Existing tools in the market fall short of addressing this transition effectively—that is, until Arch.

This post delves deeper into how the design and features of Arch enable data consultancies to cross the chasm of building productized services. Drawing from the insights in my co-founder Douwe’s post on the limitations of the Modern Data Stack (MDS) for this use case, we’ll outline the missing capabilities of existing tools and how Arch addresses each of these capabilities with specific features that make it the ideal tool for data consultancies aiming to productize their offerings.

The Necessary Capabilities for a Multi-Tenant Data Platform

Principle 1: Embrace Centralized Management from the Start

The Modern Data Stack (MDS) is exclusively built for the single tenant model, which is insufficient for data consultants managing multiple clients. Arch reimagines this approach by starting with a multi-tenant foundation, allowing for easy management of distinct data platforms for each client. This principle eradicates the inefficiencies of maintaining separate accounts or grappling with the complexities of meta-orchestration among tools and clients.

Requirement 1: Simple Client Management

Feature: Unified Client Dashboard – Within Arch, the main view is a dashboard that allows consultants to oversee and manage multiple clients and their data platforms effortlessly, eliminating the need for multiple logins and ensuring a streamlined workflow. New clients can be onboarded via the UI or API, and the dashboard is always up to date.

Requirement 2: Easy Client Onboarding and Platform Instantiation

Feature: Integrated Multi-Tenant Architecture – Arch’s core infrastructure is designed for multi-tenancy, ensuring that data extraction, storage, transformation, orchestration, and serving are optimized for handling multiple clients within a centralized interface. Each of your client’s data platforms is initialized from a template that you own and can update at any time.

Requirement 3: Proactive Issue Resolution

Feature: Advanced Monitoring and Alerts – Consultants receive real-time alerts on data issues, enabling them to proactively address concerns before they impact the client, thereby maintaining a seamless and positive client experience. Notifications are designed to be customized as you need to protect the client from a poor experience.

Principle 2: Foster Reusability and Repeatability

A cornerstone of a productized service is that approximately two-thirds of the work is the same between each client. Ideally, you would be able to do the work once for a single client and then reuse the same parts for any new clients which would save you time while also maintaining a high profit margin for you. Within Arch we call these “Components” and they represent data sources, data transformations (such as dbt models or python code), and data access patterns (standard queries or API endpoints). These Components can be configured once and then used again and again for any of your clients. We believe a code-first approach makes this easy and also enables software engineering best practices to increase the scalability of your productized service and your confidence in each iteration.

Requirement 1: Reusability and Customization

Feature: Template-Based Data Platform Configuration – With Arch, each client’s data platform is configured using customizable, file-based templates, enabling rapid onboarding, easy reusability, and the ability to apply universal updates across all clients. Every data platform you build with Arch can be converted into a template for easy reuse. This means no work goes to waste as you iterate on and build valuable features for your clients.

Requirement 2: Continuous Improvement and Integration

Feature: Git-backed Version Control – Changes and improvements to client projects are tracked and managed through a Git-backed version control system, facilitating collaboration and easy iteration while ensuring the integrity of each project version. Arch natively supports a software engineering-like workflow with multiple development environments, unit testing of template components, and easy-to-understand comparisons (diffs) between versions of a template.

Principle 3: Prioritize the Client Experience

At the core of Arch is the commitment to enhancing the experience of your clients. Arch recognizes that consultants are intermediaries who shield their clients from the complexities of data management, allowing them to focus on insights and decisions about their business. This principle is about delivering value while ensuring simplicity and transparency in client interactions.

Requirement 1: Customize for Each Client

Feature: Template overrides – Arch makes it easy to use a default template for any client, as well as override any configuration so you can tailor the productized service to specific clients. Data freshness, modeling, and access requirements can be changed as needed for each client. Those changes can be incorporated into the default template if you so choose.

Requirement 2: Offer a Bespoke Experience for Each Client

Feature: White Label Client Portal – Arch provides a branded client portal where clients can securely manage their credentials and data sources, empowering them with control over their data while maintaining simplicity in data handling. As a consultant, you can customize the client portal with your and the client’s logo, simplify credential management and onboarding, and provide the client with resources, such as links and documentation, to make your productized service more valuable to them. Arch also enables a tailored notification system within the client portal to keep clients informed of updates or required actions in a clear and professional manner, enhancing trust and engagement.

Requirement 3: Predictable Pricing

Feature: Simple per-client fees – Arch has a simple t-shirt sizing pricing model that works for productized services of any scale. Rather than having your clients pay for your value along with 5+ different tools, you can offer them a simple monthly price that covers all of their analytics needs. For consultants, a predictable monthly price for Arch with generous usage limits removes the guesswork out of knowing your infrastructure-related expenses.

Arch is your data partner

Our success as a business is defined by the success of your clients. We’re building Arch and our business around helping consultancies build better productized services that deliver exceptional value to your clients. We believe a productized services model unlocks a win-win business model – consultants earn more predictable monthly revenue while clients have a simplified billing experience. This means you can focus more on delivering value and less on building undifferentiated infrastructure.

We’re still in the early stages of building Arch into what it can be. We’d love to work with you to help you build a better consulting business and inform our product direction to better meet your and your clients’ needs. Feel free to contact, book a slot directly on my calendar, or sign up for the waitlist to stay up to date. Let’s make your productized service a reality together!